Stand up and make some noise for your Brooklyn Nets, because it's Barclays Center groundbreaking day! Curbed papa bear Lockhart Steele is on the scene in Prospect Heights to taste the fruits of six years of Atlantic Yards delays and lawsuits. Check back for frequent updates on all the controversial fun!
12:35pm: Before the "real" groundbreaking, we're live on the scene at the Freddy's Bar/Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn protest! About 50 folks and lots of media. Fake Marty Markowitz slamming Jay-Z.
12:35pm: Mild booing on cue.
12:38pm: Oh, the protest has a protester! Angry Dean Street resident: "I live here! You don't live here!"
12:39pm: Speeches by Fake Bloomberg and Fake Paterson undermic'd. Fake Marty is genius, however. Handouts are being distributed. There will be a quiz.
12:42pm: Daniel Goldstein speaking, gets big applause.
12:45pm: Angry resident dude heckling Goldstein: "You just talk talk talk for six years!"
12:48pm: Goldstein wraps it up to cheers. Protester procession en route to groundbreaking site. We're following along!
12:53pm: Protesters clustered by entrance to groundbreaking area.
1:03pm: Left the penned in protesters, walking to the tent at Atlantic and Fifth.
1:04pm: We are credentialed!
1:05pm: Holy shit, total mobscene in here. Turkey and lobster roll sliders offered to us by comely servers. Bruce Ratner really went all-out!
1:08pm: Marty walking to stage. Shaking hands. Making new friends. There is a front row seat saved for Spike Lee. Traitorous!
1:11pm: Standing room only in here and we're still 20 minutes out.
1:19pm: Color guard bring in the flags.
1:25pm: A VIP section without bottle service. And check out Shawn's row!
1:32pm: "Ladies and gentlemen, please make your way to your seats."
1:37pm: Trains aren't running on time.
1:40pm: Seated next to two Russian journalists.
1:44pm: The marching band kicks in. Paterson and Bloomberg look all chummy.
1:45pm: Marty takes the mic. Presentation of colors.
1:46pm: Aaaaand the national anthem is being sung. Slow, soulful rendition. Over definitely being hit on the length of this one.
1:48pm: Military jet flyover! Kidding. Probably. By the way, did I mention how good these potato onion knishes are?
1:51pm: Invocation giver Rev. Daughtry giving shoutout to Sen. Green from 57th Precinct—and his own wife. Quite a twofer, no? Loud helicopter noises kind of killing the prayer mood.
1:52pm: Jay-Z seated to right of podium. Marty holds pole position on left side.
1:53pm: Airhorn blasts in distance. Crafty protesters!
1:55pm: Bloomberg has eyes closed through invocation, which is now hitting five minutes. Jealous. Also crave nap.
1:55pm: "We pray especially for him as he is besieged on every side." Yup. Pray for Paterson.
1:57pm: Marty: "Sorry about the noise outside. Obviously disgruntled Knicks fans." Huge laugh from crowd.
1:58pm: Stirring Brooklyn speech from Marty. "Home of the soon to be NBA champs!" Hmmm. False optimism is adorable.
1:59pm: Paterson takes the mic. This should be good.
2:00pm: "Thank you, Reverend Daughtry. I thought I was at my own funeral for a second." HUGE laugh. Guy is killing it.
2:03pm: Gov. reeling off project stats now. Yawn.
2:09pm: Paterson: "I grew up on Grand Ave. between Gates and Green." Crowd loves it! He continues: "Dr. J leaving Nets for Sixers was the worst day of my life—until I became governor." Killing it!
2:11pm: Bloomberg now up: "I want to buy tickets." Low amused murmur!
2:14pm: Marty: "The one and only, Rev. Al Sharpton!" Rev. Al opens with a Beyonce joke. A bit on the nose.
2:19pm: Rev Al: "You can't have a baby without labor pains. Let's have the baby!" Someone shouts, "Yes!" Here's to tortured metaphors.
2:21pm: Marty intros Bruce: "We're about the two most unlikely guys to be picked in a pickup basketball game." Lolz.
2:21pm: Bruce takes the stage. Standing ovation and shouts of "Bruuuuce!" Calling Tenth Avenue Freezeout opener. Bruce: "I can't believe I'm standing here today." Frankly, who can? Points to the man for perseverance.
2:25pm: "Later, we break open that bottle of champagne." Bruce's reminiscences of hanging with Jay-Z kind of going off the rails.
2:29pm: Bruce still stalking, thanking pretty much everyone he's ever met. NBA commish David Stern didn't show. Awkward.
2:34pm: Shoutout to Ellerbe Becket and SHoP Architects for the arena design. Ratner's exacting aesthetic take on the place: "They designed a new Barclays Center that is cool and gorgeous and awesome."
2:35pm: Shoutout to the lawyers. "New York's finest!" Har. They had 150 lawyers fighting 34 lawsuits. We're creating jobs here, people.
2:41pm: Word is spreading that the NYPD is mobilizing against the protesters outside. Meanwhile, Marty intros Barclays President Bob Diamond as "a shining diamond." Crowd drifts deeper into coma.
2:43pm: Impressive: the protesters who are still making noise outside. Bunch of whistles. Now Jay-Z is at the mic with Marty.
2:45pm: Marty is showing photos of himself with Beyonce. No, really. That's what's happening.
2:47pm: Jay-Z: "What I stand here and represent is hope for the borough of Brooklyn." Getting dusty in here. Oh boy, police sirens suddenly kicking up outside.
2:50pm: Good God, just found the event program and realize we have three more speakers. Union head leads crowd in rousing "U.S.A.!" chant. More or less. Also, fuck Canada and Sidney Crosby.
2:57pm: Final speaker is the Nets president, Brett Yormarck. Sirens still wailing.
2:59pm: Nets president promises to "bring boxing back to Brooklyn." That'll be fun.
3:01pm: Marty makes the let's wrap it up gesture.
3:06pm: Jay-Z and others!!!
3:10pm: Steele out. Hope you enjoyed either the destruction or reinvention of Brooklyn (check back in 20 years or so).
· All Atlantic Yards coverage [Curbed]